"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." – Oscar Wilde
John Doe1, I enjoyed your post, and after reading, I felt like I had a good macro level understanding of the Business Value Chain for the State of Arizona, Department of Veteran Services. It’s great that you can find purpose in what you are doing. I found myself wanting to know more detail regarding primary activities, such as how are inbound logistics performed, how sales and marketing activities are managed, etc… In general, I think I would have enjoyed a little more detail on the role of information technology within your organization. Based on your closing statement and the use of platforms such as GoToMeeting and EMR (Electronic Medical Records) there may have been some additional detail that could have been added to these or some other information technology within the organization that would have provided some deeper insight.
It’s hard to imagine what life was like before web conferencing systems like GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc… These technologies have changed the world. I am curious is GoToMeeting used primarily for internal meetings or is the platform being used for outreach?
John Doe2, thanks for sharing, I like the idea of graphically mapping the value chain (I did the same thing, not loving that I cannot easily embed images in discussion board posts, trying to figure out a good workaround). I have lived and worked in New York City for the past twenty years, many of these years have been focused on the design and implementation of large-scale, high-performance storage subsystems. As you can imagine many of my customers are financial organizations and what a transformation I have witnessed from 1996 to 2016. In 1996 I was designing and installing high-speed storage devices that sat at the desk of a trader behind a Sun Microsystems SPARCstation 20s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPARCstation_20), trading decisions were being analyzed and executed by human beings with the assistance of computer models based on historical and current market conditions. Today many of these firms have consolidated into larger investment banks and commercial banks. Then came the surge of Hedge Funds and today the market has shifted to quantitative analytics, Quant Funds (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/q/quantfund.asp) and high-frequency trading (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/high-frequency-trading.asp) where a firm’s reputation seems less dependent on the broker or representative and more dependent on the physicist or computer scientist who developed the trading algorithm. This was made pretty evident by the crash of 2008 where the math and physics made mortgage-backed security, credit default swaps, and collateralized debt obligations seem like a good idea. 🙂
I feel that your graphical representation of the value chain along with your post gave me a good understanding of how you view the value chain within this organization. I would have loved some more depth regarding which information systems are being used and how they map into the value chain. For example, what is used for research (e.g. – Bloomberg?), a little more detail behind the “development of innovative delivery of industry data”, is raw data pulled from a platform, is there an ETL (extract, transform, load) process, how is this data aggregated and presented.
Today the days of the high-speed storage subsystems sitting at a trader or analysts desk are gone and have been replaced by massive Hadoop clusters (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Hadoop) which are storing and mining an unprecedented amount of data; we call this Big Data (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_data). The idea that there are tangential data sets which have statistical relevance when performing predictive analysis and the idea that we can aggregate these massive, loosely coupled, unstructured data sets and perform predictive analysis is changing the world.
Jane Doe, interesting post. I had never heard of eLEAD CRM, so I was curious to do some research. Given my background, the ideal place to start was with the Gartner CRM Magic Quadrant (https://goo.gl/images/gqztq9) which is my defacto starting reference point for the discovery market leading information technologies like CRM, ERP, MRP, etc… Because I didn’t see eLEAD CRM on the Magic Quadrant I did some further digging and hit their website (http://www.elead-crm.com/), makes sense given their niche focus that they would not hit the radar on a broader CRM Gartner Magic Quadrant. Further research showed that they apparently are well regarded as a CRM servicing the Automotive industry (https://www.drivingsales.com/vendor-ratings/category/crm-sales).
It’s a bit difficult to research eLead’s corporate profile because they are a private company and published data is always a little suspect (http://www.zoominfo.com/c/eLEAD-CRM/46340016), but it looks like eLEAD is a ~ 150 million / year in revenue and ~ 750 employees. I’d be curious to know how the company had grown and at what rate over N years and how you think specific ITP, IMP and IBV investments have contributed to this growth. I am always interested in how information systems investments and becoming an information oriented organization translates into growth from both a top line revenue (market growth) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization – http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/financial-statement-analysis/earnings-interest-tax-depreciation-and-amortizatio) perspective.
John Doe3, I have to admit I was a bit surprised by your average rating of Boeing (assuming this is somewhere in the 50-60% range). I would think given the data nature of the aerospace industry and the applicability of IoT (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things) to organizations like Boeing, GE and others for the deployment of sensors and capture of telemetry data that these organizations would be leading the pack as information oriented organizations. How important is the rate of technology adoption relevant when assessing an organization’s information orientation? I would expect that Facebook would adopt new technologies and paradigms faster than the likes of a Boeing because people lives are not at risk when Facebook is down (I do recognize that to many FB users do think that the inability to like a meme on their FB page represents a dreadful situation). Based on everyone’s perspective of the IO of our respective organizations I wonder if our field of view is finite and thus the perspective we have on our respective organizations IO is potentially skewed?
I believe the push toward COTS (commercial off-the-shelf – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_off-the-shelf) hardware is a movement impacting every IT organization. The speed of general purpose hardware (e.g. Intel, AMD, Nvidia, etc… chips) had moved more intelligence into the software stack and has increased agility and has replaced ASIC (application-specific integrated circuits – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application-specific_integrated_circuit) for many applications. I think this shift has positively impacted the agility of many organizations and the rate at which they can transform their business. With this said I would expect certain industries to be slowed dramatically by regulations, the tech sector is largely unregulated which allows the market to move very fast, while sectors like aerospace, healthcare and energy are slower to move because they are highly regulated and tethered by legacy and the risk of innovating too quickly. Personally, I am not sure I want Boeing or Medtronic iterating too fast. 🙂
You mention that senior management is focused on delivering IT-as-a-Service and that restructuring your entire department created the biggest challenge. My question is, has the service model increased agility? Is there a self-services aspect of the service model that enables innovation by moving control closer to the innovator and then metrics cost and yield of consumed resources?
As I read your post I couldn’t help but think about a project I worked on with GE and Pivotal (http://pivotal.io/) where GE made a strategic investment and to enable their service model, service catalog and self-service started refactoring their applications with Cloud Foundry (https://www.cloudfoundry.org/). Would be interesting to hear some of the details underlying how Boeing is transforming their IT organization.
Overall sounds like Boeing is doing some great stuff, keep innovating but keep me safe at 30,000 feet.
Harpham, B. (2016, May 24). How the Internet of Things improves air travel. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.cio.com/article/3074125/internet-of-things/how-the-internet-of-things-improves-air-travel.html
Pivotal Announces Planned Strategic Investment from GE | Press Release. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://pivotal.io/corporate/press-release/pivotal-announces-planned-strategic-investment-from-ge
How airlines are tapping into the Internet of Things. (2016, April 02). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from https://www.ge.com/digital/press-releases/how-airlines-are-tapping-internet-things
GE’s Big Bet on Data and Analytics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from https://sloanreview.mit.edu/case-study/ge-big-bet-on-data-and-analytics/
(2015, March 04). Why big data matters to Boeing, and what it means for your next flight. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.geekwire.com/2015/why-big-data-matters-to-boeing-and-what-it-may-mean-for-your-next-flight/
Etherington, D. (n.d.). Microsoft and Boeing team up to streamline aviation through big data and AI. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/18/microsoft-boeing-azure/
Read the Marchand, et al. (2000) article (link provided in this week’s outline). Then rank the information orientation of a company or an organization of your choice as low (0-40%), medium (40-70%), or high (above 70%). Based on the guideline provided by the authors, what advice would you give to the senior executives on improving their information orientation?
I would classify my organization (FusionStorm) as having and IO of 70%
80% – Information Technology Practices (ITP) – FusionStorm does a reasonably good job of managing information technology applications. The company is a fast growing 750 million dollar system integrator with approximately 500 employees. FusionStorm is an entrepreneurial organization with roughly 50% of the workforce being engineers and 25% of the labor force in field sales there is quite a bit of innovation which happens outside the confines of the traditional corporate IT organization. FusionStorm’s IT, legal teams and executive teams do a good job to enable and adopt outside innovation while protecting the corporation. Cloud computing and the availability of resources has certainly had an impact on the pace of innovation, FusionStorm is no different and I think huge benefits are being realized but new paradigms are also challenging traditional Information Management Practices. A few years ago every organization was trying to determine how to cope with Shadow IT (http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/shadow/). Today Shadow IT is just another name for cloud computing and organizations are more focused on shifting Information Technology Practices to adapt to Shadow IT and foster innovation rather than to shut down shadow IT and choke innovation. We leverage various SaaS solutions to gather information on customer and markets but I do not think we do a good enough of looking at market data and altering our trajectory based on market conditions. Our analytics tend to favor historical data as a predictor of the future rather than market data and inference.
60% – Information Management Practices (IMP) – FusionStorm does an OK job of capturing this information. We are excellent at gathering data within a closed system. We do not do a good job of enforcing the human aspects of data collection and this is most apparent is areas of the business such as sales and marketing. Gathering things like sales pipelines require human interaction and while our sales teams enter opportunities and develop pipelines we do little in the way of measuring the accuracy of the pipeline outside of total forecasted dollars vs. closed business. Our lack of concern for understanding where the business is coming from has always troubled me. Achieving revenue goals does not help determine how you might have to pivot the workforce or strategic engineering objectives, an inability to forecast accurately (from all aspects) creates significant risk for the organization.
70% – Information Behaviors and Values (IBV) – Most of our systems are architected in such a way that data can’t be directly tampered with or skewed. We have a high level of transparency regarding all corporate metrics and we encourage employees to engage by questioning information and challenging strategy. With this said access to information allows information to be exported, massaged and represented from a perspective which may only expose the data required to drive to the desired outcome. It is not always easy to cross reference this data which sometimes leads to decisions which are based on a micro perspective or personal strategy rather than on a macro perspective which aligns with the corporate strategy.
As an organization, we need to enhance our capabilities around capturing and leveraging market data to predict market trends and opportunities better. While we do a good job or mining our historical data and making organizational adjustments based on predictive historical analysis we need recognize that there is a paradigm shift happening. The industry is moving at an unprecedented pace and we need to enter and exit markets faster than ever before, market data and inference in addition to our historical data adds tremendous value.
We need to relook at our process and adjust them to ensure we are capturing better data originated by humans. While we don’t want to slow the process down, we need to have a process which validates information from all perspectives.
Restraint is critical when making decisions based on data represented outside of well known controlled and trusted constructs. Corporate Information Systems are architected with controls that ensure the integrity of the data. Because of our culture and the transparency it values, we allow this data to be exported from corporate information systems and massaged, this allows for corruption of the integrity of output. Often this technique is used to focus on an aspect of data that drives a decision or outcome that may not align with the corporate strategic objectives.
Marchand, D. A., Kettinger, W. J., & Rollins, J. D. (2000). Information Orientation: People, Technology and the Bottom Line. Sloan Management Review, 41(4), 69. Retrieved from https://portal.lib.fit.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.portal.lib.fit.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=melb26933&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA64190756&sid=summon&asid=f92ff4366659963004ef3d52d0f86fd5